Tag Archives: Achievement

Riding through Lapalala Wilderness

Ginny and Anne

We mounted our horses bright and early on Day 4 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride

Following Ant

and set off into Kwalata game reserve with a map drawn on a piece of cardboard. As we rode into Lapalala Wilderness Ant warned us that if a black rhino charged and we found ourselves on the ground we should either get behind a tree or roll onto our back and kick it in self-defense.

Riding through Lapala Wilderness

We were venturing into truly wild remote country with diverse challenges that included walking the horses down a rocky track for a couple of kilometers passing middens that marked the black rhino territory.  The dung itself had quite an attractive smell.

Walk in the Wilderness

We were probably making too much noise to get close to wildlife but saw giraffe wildebeest, impala and a terrapin.

Lapala Wilderness

After nearly five hours in the saddle we were hugely relieved and deeply grateful to find lunch being cooked for us by the Palala River, along with chairs and a table.

Lunch by the hippo pool

Lunch by the Palala River

The intrepid went off in search of hippo. We had been told there were also crocodile around.

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hippo

We found the horses had been saddled up and rode on through Lapalala,

Amanda

beyond the airstrip where the horses were to spend the night.

TWT Riders 2016 team photo

Here we found a black rhino in one of the game bomas and felt rather glad that he was safely behind a sturdy fence.

Black rhino

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Riding through Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg

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On the second day of The Waterberg Trust Challenge  Ride 2016 we mounted our horses and rode through Ant’s Nest game reserve up to Ant’s Hill in two groups consisting of 8 or 9 riders each: the tortoises and the hares.

Ant Baber showing us the ropes

Those going on the fast ride, led my Ant Baber, found themselves cantering alongside a herd of giraffe, which was exhilarating and covered more than 11 kms in about 3 hours.

Riding up to Ant's Hill

The tortoises rode more sedately, coming across zebra, warthog and rare antelope such a herd of Livingstone eland as well as a lone sable bull:

Sable at Ant's Hill

We rode on, encountering impala, blesbok and more zebra before reaching a dam. The hares arrived hot on our tails having spent time watching the behaviour of a herd of buffalo.

Dam on ant's Hill

Some of the riders were able to take their horses in to cool off during the heat of the day.

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After being treated to a delicious lunch of homemade sausages cooked out in the bush

Bush breakfast at Ant's Hill

we had coffee at Ant’s Hill where we received a talk about the Waterberg Biosphere.

Ant's Hill

As we rode out that afternoon, we saw more game including a family group of bat-earred foxes. This was very special as the guides had only seen them once before on the reserve.

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We spotted quite a few wildebeeste along with their calves who, at a few moths old, almost look like a different species:

Wildebeeste calf

It was the group of tortoise riders, going at some speed, who made it to the north of the reserve first, clocking up 26.3kms and reaching the top of the escarpment, 4,500 feet above sea-level. As the horses found hay-nets waiting for them in the paddocks of an old Transvaal farm, the riders returned in a game-viewing vehicle for one last comfortable night at Ant’s Nest and packed their bags for the next two days on the move.

Tsede riding on Ant's Nest

If you would like to find out more, The Waterberg Trust have a Facebook page here. Riders are raising sponsorship for community projects in the Waterberg on Justgiving.com here

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Report on the second Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

Sophie Neville and wildebeeste

The dream of riding through the game reserves of South Africa became a reality for twelve British riders this March when they took up the challenge of raising £1,000 each for Save The Waterberg Rhino and local community projects.

Zebra by Sophie Neville

The team was made up of experienced riders

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and, being led by Ant Baber,

Ant Baber

the pace was fast whenever the terrain allowed.

Cantering

The idea was to traverse 175kms  of remote country

Walking uphill

while taking the opportunity to learn about rhino conservation

Sophie Neville watching rhino

and discover more about the Waterberg. For further detail and more photos of this ride, please see subsequent posts.Photographing giraffe

If you would like to get involved or find out more The Waterberg Trust have a Facebook page here. Riders are raising sponsorship on Justgiving.com here

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Expedition Success – The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

imageThe Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 proved a great success!

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Riders saw rhino from horseback and got very close to white rhino feeding.

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They received a talk on the threat posed by poaching,

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and were led over the hills of the Waterberg by Ant Baber to visit

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Lapalala Wilderness School where local children come to learn about nature conservation.

We raised more than £18,000 for Save The Waterberg Rhino and community projects in the Wateberg. We were able to send 120 children on a residential course at Lapalala Wilderness and gave a grant to Letabo Kids Club for their ‘Back to School’ initiative in the township of Leseding.

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The Waterberg Trust Challenge Cycle Ride – plans and preparations

18 adult riders and one 14 year-old boy  have committed to take part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Cycle Ride 2016.  “One or two are having to juggle work and family commitments, but we have great expectations!”
Planning the TWT cycle ride
Two brave volunteers – Sam Franklin and Charles Whitbread will be driving the support vehicles, keeping the riders fed and watered at the predetermined stoppage points spaced at roughly two-hour intervals.  Only short stretches of the ride are not on a tar road. These are from Fen Ditton in North Cambridge to Ely.  “It is a great delight to discover how lovely it can be cycling towards Ely Cathedral at 8.00am. It’s the only building you can see on the skyline.”
TWT cycle ride map
“So far, we have had four practice recce rides, which have helped to determine the route. The number of punctures on each ride has been alarming, but it is all part of the practice in keeping everybody going. Being equipped to mend a puncture rapidly or change an inner tube no matter where you are is important.  It is like a motor-racing event with everybody helping out by providing the different bits of kit and expertise to speed the puncture repair.  We have certainly become practiced at it.”
Mending a puncture on the TWT cycle ride
“Will used the puddle alongside the track to determine where the hole was.  He had to do a puncture repair because he had used his spare inner tube already as this was his second puncture of the morning!”
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“At this stage were are still about one hour’s ride from Ely, having just peddled across Wicken Fen. That was a marvellous experience if you are interested in birds and rare horse breads like me.  On this occasion, we had breakfast in Ely and then cycled on to Littleport, half way to Downham Market.”
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A previous outing had been another really fun ride from Ely to Downham Market (the second phase of the ride) across the Fens and the many bird sanctuaries. “We hardly saw a car and it felt very remote. Punctures were again a challenge for the racing bikes on this ride. My steel framed 25-year old tank of a bicycle has the distinction of not yet having suffered from punctures.  The racers were much quicker though. I felt like the tortoise in the hare and the tortoise race of Aesop’s Fables because I did not have to stop.”
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The practice ride last weekend explored the third phase of the ride from Downham Market to the Dabbling Duck pub in Gt Massingham for lunch along quiet country lanes, far from anywhere in particular.
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The cyclists are raising funds to send to the Waterberg in South Africa. 50% will go to the Lapalala Wilderness School, with the aim of sending 100 dis-advantaged children on a residential week’s course on wildlife conservation. 50% will go to ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’ and help them fight poaching.

If you are able to sponsor the riders, TWT has a Justgiving page here.

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Nigel Hall, who is taking part, has a Justgiving.com page for the cycle ride here

William Orme has a Justgiving.com page here

Barry Burles, the leader, has a Justgiving.com page here

“The stop press bit of news is that I have been lucky enough to have been offered by my wonderful wife a new hybrid bicycle for my birthday present.  In case you didn’t know, it’s as exciting being given a new bicycle as a grown man as it is when you are a young boy. The 84 miles might seem somewhat shorter for me now on the 12th March!”
There will be three more weekend practice rides between now and then.
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What could you do?

Susie Airy, who is taking part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016, is raising funds for TWT by raffelling one of her beautiful flower paintings.

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Tulips and catkins by Susie Airy -acrylic on board, 12″ x 15″

What could you do?

The TWT challenge riders are currently raising money for ‘Save The Waterberg Rhino’ in South Africa and the ‘Lapalala Wilderness School’ nearby that enables children from the local community to learn about wildlife conservation.

The TWT ride sets off on 12th March. Riders are paying their own own expenses. Do support them on Justgiving.com

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Making a Difference: Teaching Conservation Skills at Lapalala Wilderness School in South Africa

Lapalala Wilderness School wins Eco School Award and inspires others

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 is currently raising funds and looking for sponsorship to help this award winning eco-school on the Palala River in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

Crossing the Palala River

The Lapalala Wilderness School was established thirty years ago to give children from disadvantaged areas to have the opportunity to spend a week learning about nature conservation while gaining practical skills in the African bush.

Learning about Wildlife

If you would like to support this excellent educational project, you can make a donation on JustGiving via The Waterberg Trust and add a note with your donation specifying “Lapalala Wilderness School”

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Swimming in the Palala River

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride – Itinerary

Following the success of our rides over the last three years, we now have a good plan for a sponsored challenge ride across the Waterberg.

If anyone is interested in joining us in 2018 please contact Sophie, the group organiser direct on sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Riding safaris at Ant's (1)

Overall dates for 2018 TBC

Fly out to Johannesburg

DAY 1 – Riders will be met off an early flight arrving at Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and driven north, about 3 hours, to Ant’s Nest Private Game Reserve deep in the Africa bush.  Lunch will be served on arrival.

After settling into the lodge we will go for a game ride so that riders can try out the horses. – there are about forty to chose from. Anyone not wishing to ride can go on a game drive in search of wildlife.

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The Waterberg is home to the second largest population of rhino in south Africa after the Kruger Park, so their protection on the plateau is vital.

DAY 2 – We will spend the day riding across Ant’s Nest, up to Ant’s Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herd of white rhino, along with buffalo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and antelope. Any non-riders will have the option of taking game drive or walk or using one of the mountain bikes to see the reserve.

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We will meet up for lunch in the bush, hopefully by a dam where riders can swim with their horse. We’ll ride back to Ant’s Nest for the night. As the sun goes down, we will meet the white rhino living on the reserve, while Tessa Baber gives us a talk on the work of ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’.

DAY 3 – We set off early, riding north through the reserve looking for antelope and along sandy roads where we can canter for miles over the hills on our way to Kwalata Game Reserve. Non-riders could spend the morning fishing or cycling.

The horses will be stabled on the property while we take a game drive to the lodge where we are staying the night.

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DAY 4 – We ride into Lapalala Wilderness, which will give us another amazing opportunity to see game. We have the chance of seeing white and black rhino along with other species such as vervet monkey, baboon and even lion.

Lunch will be enjoyed at a dam with the hope of spotting hippo, afterwhich we will ride further through this vast game reserve.

The night will be spent at Kolobe Lodge where the leaders of South Africa have stayed and hope to be given a talk on the wilderness school and community projects.

DAY 5 – Wednesday 16th March – Lapalala hosts the Wilderness School, which assists with giving environmental education for up to 2000 under privileged children a year. We are hoping to fit in a visit this morning.

We mount our horses and ride to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we hope to find hippo, crocodile and more plains game including giraffe, jackal, warthog and red heartebeest.

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DAY 6 – We’ll ride across Jembisa hoping to find hippos and perhaps see crocodile in the river before meeting with any non-riders at the furthest point of the ride and grabbing a few photographs before bidding our horses farewell. There will then be time for a swim or a long hot bath before dinner at the lodge.

DAY 7 – After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see the ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before lunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios en route to the airport.

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Your flight will arrive back in the UK the next day

The itinerary may change – but hopefully only for the better!

The cost is per person, sharing. This includes of all meals, local alcohol and soft drinks, accommodation, riding, game drives and bush walks, as well as road transfers to and from standard flights landing by 9.00am on morning of Saturday 12th March and returning pm on the last day.

It does not include flights, tips or travel insurance – Ant’s Nest will require a non-returnable deposit. The balance must have been paid 6 weeks before the trip commences.

We can highly recommend coming out a couple of days earlier and staying on for one or two nights. We are happy to assist with booking this. Additional transfers will be charged if not coming in and out on the scheduled transfer.

Riders need to be fit as there will be 25–42km’s of riding per day. You must be someone who rides at least twice a week, be comfortable at an extended canter and be able to cope with long hours in the saddle.

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We can take non-riding partners who will be able to enjoy guided walks, game drives, mountain biking, swimming, fishing and exploring the area which is rich in iron-age sites. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveldt will be green. It can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold.

To see photos of the horses please click here

This is an exploratory venture, indeed a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere.

The group will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant’s Nest and Sophie Neville, who became a horse safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, and is now a trustee of TWT.

If you have any questions please contact Sophie Neville ~ sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

To participate riders need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1,000 for The Waterberg Trust. As a registered UK charity, Gift Aid can then be added.

50% of sponsorship raised will go to Save the Waterberg Rhino Trust and 50% will go to community projects in the Waterberg.

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Would you help us raise funds?

We can help you with ideas.

While we encourage riders to find sponsorship some of us are raising the donation of £1,000 in other ways such as hosting a sale, or asking for donations instead of birthday gifts and then gaining matched funding.

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To make your own Justgiving page – please click here

To see Sophie’s 2016 Justgiving page as an example – click here

Information on the camps:

Click here for where we are in South Africa

Ant’s Nest ~ website: http://www.waterberg.net

Lapalala Wilderness ~ website: http://lapalala.com

Kwalata ~ website: http://www.kwalata.co.za/

Jembisa ~ website: www.jembisa.com

Save the Waterberg Rhino

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Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre. It’s great if riders can liaise and fly out together.

NB: please book flights that arrive in S.Africa no later than 9.00am and depart from Johannesburg no earlier than 7.00pm. Should you need to arrive late or depart early, a private transfer will be supplied at additional cost.

Make your way to the information desk in the arrivals hall where you will be met and driven to Ant’s Nest for lunch.

At the end of the safari we will arrive at Johannesburg airport at a time suitable for all flights departing after 7 pm.

FAQs:

Do I need a visa? You must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date and has at least 3 blank pages. Visas are not needed for those with British passports. Please check if you come from elsewhere.

What vaccinations do I need? Vaccinations and malaria medications are not required however we recommend your tetanus to be up to date.

Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes, hard hats are mandatory and you will not be able to ride without one and suggest you bring your own hot-weather model. We do not provide half-chaps but do have some available for purchase.

What should I bring? As well as comfortable riding clothes and your hard hat, please bring the following; Bum bag, lip salve, strong sun protection cream factor 20 or higher, short boots and chaps. (Long rubber boots are not advised), swimming costume, light weight long sleeved shirts, raincoat, camera with extra memory cards and extra camera batteries, small torch (head torch style highly recommended) and toiletries. (Voltage the same but round pin plugs)

Is there a laundry service? We hope to be able to offer a limited laundry service. When packing do bear this in mind as it helps not to have too much luggage.  We can normally turn laundry around within 48 hours (excluding the 30 or so days a year that it rains!) Do bring out any children’s clothes, especially grey/black/white school uniform or sports wear as we can donate it to one of the schools or welfare projects in the Waterberg.

What is the accommodation like? Ant’s Nest and Jembisa offer comfortable lodge accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. Kolobe and Kwalata are simpler and some may have to share bathrooms. We will have picnic lunches, evening meals cooked around the fire and hope to sleep out under the stars on one night, weather permitting.

Single supplements? Bookings are taken on a ‘willing to share basis’. If you want a single room there would be 50% supplement.

What are the horses like? They have been carefully chosen from various South African breeds, known for being able to walk-out well while being able to cope with tough going. the live in the bush so are familiar with wildlife. Breeds include Friesan-cross, Boerperds, Anglo-Thoroughbreds, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 14.3h. to 17h. Tack is McClellan long-distance saddles and usually snaffle bridles.

Do cell phones work?  Will be riding in areas of no coverage but take radio communication at all times for emergencies.

Useful contact numbers: Please give loved ones who may need to contact you for any reason the Ant’s Nest phone numbers:

Tel 1 : +27 (0) 83 287 2885
Tel 2 : +27 (0) 87 820 7233
Tel 3 : +27 (0) 83 681 8944 (Emergencies only)

These can also be used in the case of a badly delayed flight

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money – however there is a craft shop at Ant’s Nest that takes credit cards. Gratuities are at your discretion and can be paid in pounds, euros or dollars.

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Reporting back on the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015

Waterberg Charity Ride sets off from HorizonTen riders from Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland and the Netherlands gathered at Horizon Horseback Safaris on 25th January 2015.

Sarah Potter

After an evening ride to ensure everyone was happy with their mounts,

Kate we set off over the hills, taking on the challenge to find a route across the Waterberg plateau on horseback. Our week in the saddle proved quite an adventure.

Leading the Waterberg Charity Ride We had some wonderful game viewing.

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Being on horseback we could get remarkably close to animals

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especially zebra used to grazing with the horses.

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Some sections were challenging

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and we crossed through territory new to the horses.

Crossing a streamThere were other stretches where we pushed on

Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 and picked up speed.

A fast section There were mornings when we cantered for miles, afternoons when we had to dismount to walk up stony hillsides – all be good for the inner thigh.

A challenging section of the Waterberg Charity RideWe found ourselves going through very beautiful country.

a beautiful section of the Watberg Charity Ride We spent long days in the heat,

Alex with zebra

but it was high summer in South Africa and the bush was verdant.

groupandlandscape005_zps12ba856cMaking our way through the game rserves, crossing rivers

groupandlandscape030_zpscc9589f6 and plains where herds of wild animals were grazing was exciting.

sophie000b_zps31e9891dWe rode with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, jackal, red heartebeest, blesbok, impala, greater kudu, waterbuck, mountain reed buck, duiker, eland, oryx and saw nyala, sable, springbok, baboon, vervet monkey, slender mongoose, tree squirrel, ostrich, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile and even a debra – the hybrid foal of a zebra mare and donkey stallion.

Game viewing on the Waterberg Charity Ride We saw amazing creatures, great

White rhino at Ant's Nest and small.

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Some saw sable antelope

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and we even came across other horses, grazing in the Africa bush.

sparkie002_zpsd0da621a After six days on horseback we made it to the Palala River and could celebrate the fact that we had covered somewhere in the region of 200kms.

Bucks fizz Everyone agreed that it had been a great expedition accomplished by a wonderful team.

ready to goBefore flying home we had time to meet staff at the Waterberg Welfare Society

Learning about WWS and see around the hospice and Timothy House children’s centre.

The Waterberg Charity Ride visits WWS Very many thanks go to all those who sponsored the riders and supported such a good cause. Funds are still coming in but we hope to let you know the total raised soon and report on the details of projects we will be able to finance. The riders all paid their own expenses and brought generous donations, with gifts for the local children.

Alex's donation I was able to take beautiful books, stationary and clothing to the farm school where they were very much appreciated.

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If you would like to add a donation via our Justgiving page please click here.

Grateful hanks also go to those who hosted us and looked after the riders so beautifully: Horizon Horseback Safaris, Koshari Game Reserve, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill, Lindani Game Reserve and Jembisa, who treated us to dinner under the stars on our last night.

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If you would like to join us on another Waterberg Charity Ride, please contact us using the Comments box below.

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July’s Story

July Letsebe in South Africa

“Just eight years ago, July Letsebe was lying on his bed, seriously ill and waiting to die. But thankfully, after discovering he was HIV positive, he was given the right medication, is now healthy, and is helping others to access life saving treatment.

When July first became ill, he refused medical treatment and instead sought the advice of a healer – a common practice in rural parts of South Africa. But after a few months, he was bedridden and barely able to move. He felt desperate. “I asked my family to help me die, but they refused,” he says.

One day, a team of carers from a local project, the Waterberg Welfare Society, visited July’s tiny shack. When they saw how ill he was, they offered to drive him to the government clinic once a day for medical care. At the clinic, July received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis and also discovered that he was HIV positive.

In an incredibly brave step, he decided to reveal his HIV status at a local community event to encourage others to get tested. “People were shocked,” he says, “I could see the expression of disbelief in their faces.”

As he slowly recovered, July started training to become an HIV counsellor so that he could help other people who are living with the virus.

“AIDS does not actually kill people – lack of knowledge about it does,” says July, who manages Stepping Forward, a Comic Relief-funded HIV project in Vaalwater, South Africa. And, as someone who has lived with HIV for almost ten years, he knows what he’s talking about.

Today, thanks to HIV medication, July is healthy and is making sure that other people in remote rural areas of South Africa have access to life-saving HIV testing and treatment.”